A cruel, violent death, inflicted on purpose, is criminal and immoral, and Jesus was tortured and brutally lynched by a military empire that he organized a movement to oppose. Believing God thought his execution was necessary to save the world of sin is like thinking that pouring sludge on people is a way to get them clean. To explain how such a God is good and loving, believers have to rationalize how even horrible things that cause unimaginable human suffering are the will of God.
This contorted rationalizing of evil can lead someone to conclude a pregnancy from rape is God's will, without any regard for the victim who was raped or how she or he (men get raped too) might feel. Believing that God intended for Jesus to be lynched to save the world requires a person to override empathy, lose their moral bearings and accept evil as divine will -- some even believe suffering makes them closer to God or reveals divine will.
This idea has done more harm to Christianity and Christians than all its critics combined. It needs to be debunked for what it is: a rationalization of evil, not to mention a slandering of the God of love, justice and mercy whom many Christians follow.
"Saving Paradise," a book I co-authored with Rebecca Parker, exposes how a crucifixion-obsessed, death-worshipping Christianity emerged in the second millennium of Western Europe as propaganda for holy war, imperial conquest, slavery, environmental devastation and colonization. It was not the dominant Christianity of the first millennium, which believed the earthly paradise was this world, not an afterlife reward for killing for Christ.
Unfortunately, the war propaganda version of Christianity has had long legs and prevails still in conservative churches, and especially in those who seek political power to lord over others. The current crop of such candidates can gin up more empathy for a hypothetical fetus than the millions of real people who are raped, a testimony to their sociopathology. They are a danger to others' well-being, especially young women under 18, who are almost half of all rape victims.
Because this nasty version of Christianity props up a will to power, these are the kinds of people who want to inflict their view religious views on everyone else and do not really believe in democracy. They prefer King David as the model of masculinity rather than Jesus because they believe in imperial power -- after all, it inflicted the will of God on Jesus. Forcing unwanted pregnancy on women, supporting illegal wars, seeking wealth as a divine gift, demonizing people who are poor, wanting women to stay silent and domestically confined, and believing they know the will of God are all consistent with people who have neither empathy for others nor a moral compass.
We must do everything in our power to stop the proliferation of these bad religious ideas and, more importantly, to keep the proponents of such ideas out of Congress, for God's sake and for ours.